Lailat al Miraj : The Miraculous Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Miracles do happen, for those who do not believe, are clearly unaware of the life of our Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH). Islamic history is a superior witness to these miracles. Lailat-al-Miraj, was one of the greatest miracles of his time, the night that the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) ascent to the Heavens. It was not only a spiritual journey but a physical one as well. The journey of Lailat-al-Miraj signifies the greatness and importance of the Prophet (PBUH) in Allah’s (SWT) eyes.
This night of miracle is also known as the “Isra and Miraj” which denotes 2 parts of the journey. The first part of the Prophet’s (PBUH) journey from Mecca to Jerusalem is known as Isra - which means ‘walking in the night’. Angel Jibrael visited the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and was carried to Masjid-al-Aqsa in Jerusalem on “buraq”, the steed of the prophets. In the Quran, Allah (SWT) verifies the truth of this journey as well:
_“Glory be to Him Who took His devotee (Muhammad) one night from Masjid-al-Haram (in Makkah) to Masjid-al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), whose vicinity We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs: surely He is the One Who is the Hearer, the Observer. (Quran 17:1)
The second part of the journey is called as Miraaj, which literally means “ladder”, and it alludes to the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) ascension to Heaven itself. From Jerusalem, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was then transported to Paradise on his steed ‘Buraq’, where he explored all seven levels of paradise and met a number of the prophets who had preceded him, which included Adam (AS), Musa (AS), Ibrahim (AS), Isa (AS), Yusuf (AS), Yahya (AS), and numerous others. Upon reaching Sidra-tul-Muntaha in the seventh heaven, a tree denoting the very end of heaven and the beginning of the abode of Allah (SWT), Jibrael stopped as his entrance was prohibited and let the Prophet (PBUH) pass. Here, our dearest Prophet (PBUH) got an opportunity to meet the Almighty and talk with Him. It is on this night, that the Prophet (PBUH) accomplished a condition of closeness with Allah (SWT) that is past human measure.
Additionally, it was on this very moment that Allah (SWT) on all Muslims urged the five daily prayers. Prayers was originally supposed to be 50 daily prayers, but our Prophet (PBUH) importuned for the benefit of his ummah to make it easier for them and alas, Allah (SWT) brought the number down to five.
Allah (SWT) revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) that all Muslims were to pray fifty times a day. As Prophet (PBUH) was returning, Musa (AS) disclosed to him that fifty prayers were excessively high so Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mentioned Allah (SWT) to decrease the number of supplications. Allah (SWT) decreased the obligatory supplications to 45 yet Musa (AS) still idea they were excesses of so eventually on Prophet’s (PBUH) request, Allah (SWT) reduced the number of prayers to Five.
Allah (SWT) makes reference to a couple of insights regarding the journey in another part of the Quran as well:
_“While on the highest point above the horizon, then he approached ˹the Prophet˺, coming so close, that he was only two arms-lengths away or even less. Then Allah revealed to His servant what He revealed ˹through Gabriel˺. The ˹Prophet’s˺ heart did not doubt what he saw. How can you ˹O pagans˺ then dispute with him regarding what he saw? And he certainly saw that ˹angel descend˺ a second time, at the Lotte Tree of the most extreme limit ˹in the seventh heaven near which is the Garden of ˹Eternal˺ Residence. while the Lotte Tree was overwhelmed with ˹heavenly˺ splendors! The ˹Prophet’s˺ sight never wandered, nor did it overreach. He certainly saw some of his Lord’s greatest signs. (Quran 53:7-18)
The sole purpose of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) extraordinary voyage to the Heavens was an act of declaration about the lifted up status of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the realm of Islam and vouched for the imperative position he held in the eyes of Allah (SWT) and His creation.
However, the date of this voyage is still unclear as there is no solid indication in any Sahih hadith for its exact occurrence. It is thought to have occurred somewhere close to the Prophet’s visit to Taif and the season of the Hijra, around the 27th of the Islamic month of Rajab, yet this date isn’t formally perceived by Islamic researchers.
Layla-tul-Miraj is a witness to Allah’s (SWT) infinite glory and power and His bond with His creation. Allah (SWT) sent the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as a blessing to His creation, an exemplary figure and good example for each human to gaze upward to. Miraj night marks itself as a test of faith in mankind and enjoins them to believe in the truth of all that Allah (SWT) is and all that only He is capable of doing.
Layla-tul-Miraj holds great significance to every Muslim across the globe, where the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) ascension is remembered and the definitive purpose of it is recollected. It is viewed as a standout amongst the most sacred of miracles of the Almighty, which He offered to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and just him.